Fermented Wheat Germ Extract
Also known by these names
Fermented wheat germ extract (FWGE) is a dietary supplement sold as brand names including Avemar, Avé, AvéULTRA, AWGE, Metatrol and OncoMAR
Treating the Cancer
Working against cancer growth or spread, improving survival, or working with other treatments or therapies to improve their anticancer action
Fermented wheat germ extract showed anticancer and anti-metastatic effects in a few clinical trials..1
Lab and Animal Evidence
- A 2012 review concluded that FWGE has these properties in laboratory cell and animal testing:2
- Promotes apoptosis of cancer cells while leaving normal cells unharmed
- Starves the sugar supply required by cancer cells to survive
- Unmasks cancer cells so they can be more readily targeted by the immune system
- Prevents abnormal cells from repairing themselves
- A 2004 study found that FWGE interacted with tamoxifen treatment, enhancing the efficacy of tamoxifen, an ER antagonist, in inducing cell death (apoptosis) in ER+ breast cancer cells. FWGE also enhanced estrogen-receptor (ER) activity alone, with further decreased ER activity when used with tamoxifen's beyond tamoxifen's effect in cells.3
- FWGE induced cell death (apoptosis), showed antiproliferative effects against human ovarian cancer cell lines and enhanced cytotoxicity of cisplatin and docetaxel4
FWGE has shown anticancer and anti-metastatic effects in animal trials and a few clinical trials with these further cancers:
- Colorectal cancer
- Lung cancer
Managing Side Effects and Promoting Wellness
Managing or relieving side effects or symptoms, reducing treatment toxicity, supporting quality of life or promoting general well-being
In all, evidence to date is positive but not rigorous for improvements in side effects and quality of life:
- FWGE has reduced chemotherapy-induced fever that accompanies an abnormally low number of neutrophil granulocytes (a type of white blood cell) in the blood in pediatric cancer patients.
- In studies of people with non-small cell lung cancer receiving chemotherapy, FWGE improved quality of life.5
FWGE is not recommended for use by pregnant and nursing women, patients with sensitivity to gluten, those with fructose intolerance, or patients with organ or tissue transplants.
Because FWGE may have estrogen-receptor activity, if you have an estrogen-dependent cancer and are thinking about taking FWGE, consult with a licensed provider who is knowledgeable and experienced with using this supplement in cancer.
Fermented wheat germ extract supplements are widely available.
BCCT does not recommend therapies or doses, but only provides information for patients and providers to consider as part of a complete treatment plan. Patients should discuss therapies with their physicians, as contraindications, interactions and side effects must be evaluated. Levels of active ingredients of natural products can vary widely between and even within products. See Quality and Sources of Herbs, Supplements and Other Natural Products.
Dosage recommendations are available from these sources:
Integrative Programs, Protocols and Medical Systems
|For more information about programs and protocols, see our Integrative Programs and Protocols page.|
Non-cancer Uses of FWGE
FWGE has been used in treatment for heart disease as well as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), an autoimmune disease. BCCT has not reviewed the effectiveness of this therapy for non-cancer uses.
Written by Nancy Hepp, MS, with review by Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS; most recent update on April 17, 2019. Note: BCCT has not conducted an independent review of research of fermented wheat germ extract. This summary draws from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s About Herbs and CAM-Cancer Summaries websites and other sources as noted.
- Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s About Herbs: Wheat germ extract
- CAM-Cancer Summaries: Fermented wheat germ extract
- Moss Reports (purchase required): Select from the list of cancers down the left side of the page for a report describing uses of conventional, complementary, alternative and integrative therapies related to that cancer. Ralph Moss is among the most knowledgeable and balanced researchers of integrative cancer therapies. The cost of his Moss Reports is not negligible, but many patients find them of considerable value. Moss is also available for consultations.
- TRC Natural Medicines: Fermented Wheat Germ Extract (subscription required): in-depth information, ratings of effectiveness and safety and evaluation of specific resveratrol products
- Susan G. Komen: Fermented wheat germ extract
- Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO, and Karolyn Gazella: The Definitive Guide to Cancer, 3rd Edition